Champions League proposals

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exile
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Champions League proposals

Post by exile » Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:38 pm

Just in case the recent changes to the Champions League and UEFA Cup (due to take effect in 2009-10) had passed us all by....

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Instead of 16 automatic qualifiers, there will be 22. Good news for Scotland - champions of nations ranked 10 to 12 (which usually includes Scotland) will be automatic qualifiers.

Then, instead of a single qualifying competition, there will be 2 separate ones - one for champions of nations ranked 13 and down, and another for - the 4th team from nations 1 to 3: the 3rd team from nations 4 to 6: and the runners up from nations 7 to 15.

Each qualifying competition will provide 5 qualifiers. At once we can see that since Scotland is more or less guaranteed to be in the 7 to 15 group, and that only 5 teams from this section will qualify, it will be VERY difficult to qualify for whoever finishes 2nd in Scotland.

However - better news - the losers in the final qualifying round (10 in all) will automatically drop in to the UEFA Cup group stage. That is, no need to negotiate a knockout round as at present. The chances are that this will include the 2nd placed team in Scotland as they are likely to get through to the last qualifying round.

Not only that, the losers in the penultimate qualifiying round - 20 of them - get a 2nd chance by joining the last qualifying round for the UEFA Cup. And this time the Scottish runners up are guaranteed to have at least this chance. That is - no chance of an "Artemedia". That is - all champions and runners up of the top 15 nations will either reach the CL group stage, the UC group stage, or will get a 2nd chance to reach the UC groups should they trip up in the CL qualifiers.

UEFA CUP

First good news for Scotland is that we get an extra UEFA Cup berth. As long, that is, as we don't drop below no 15 in the rankings. The Cup winners will go into the final qualifying round with just one tie to get through to get to the group stage. The 3rd placed team goes into the penultimate round - the 4th team into the round before that.

Instead of 8 groups of 5 at the group stage there will be 12 groups of 4. Teams will now play each other home and away so there will be a minimum of 6 matches. 24 teams will advance to round 3 to join the dropouts from the Champions League Groups (ie 3rd place teams as at present)

In an average season we should have

- Scottish champions qualify for the CL group stage - most likely to finish 3rd
and drop into the UC 3rd round

- Runners up likely to lose in the last qualifying round and so enter the UC group stage with a good chance of reaching the 3rd round

(buit - very little chance of having 2 Scottish teams in the CL group stage)

- Cup winners, 3rd and 4th place teams with an outside chance of making the UC group stage depending on seeding

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Post by Scottish » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:03 am

Thanks for this. I'm away at the moment and hadn't see this. A few observations: firstly, just when you think UEFA couldn't make what what should be a simple format any more difficult to understand they turn round and prove you wrong.

Secondly, this confirms what I said to several people who thought the guaranteed CL place was unalloyed good news - that the Scottish runners-up are going to have to go some to qualify.

You say "The chances are that this will include the 2nd placed team in Scotland as they are likely to get through to the last qualifying round."

Presumably this would be as a result of receiving a bye in the initial qualifying round? Otherwise it is not going to be an easy task to beat a side in the top three or four from the top six ranked countries or a runner-up from the next nine.

Also "First good news for Scotland is that we get an extra UEFA Cup berth. As long, that is, as we don't drop below no 15 in the rankings. "

Perversely the extra team could help ensure that actually happens. Another side in Europe adding the points tally of a Gretna or Dunfermline in recent seasons would soon depress the co-efficient. More to the point the moment we dropped below 12 that automatic CL place is gone.

That said it should initially at least spice up the SPL by guaranteeing 4th place a European spot.

The losers from this in Scottish terms are the Old Firm. Little chance of more seasons like this with both in the CL group stage and the prospect of neither of them getting there in the not too distant future even if their own results justify their position.

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Post by exile » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:12 pm

Bert Kassies' excellent web site goes into full detail but basically it's like this:-

The 15 clubs in the non-champions qualifiers are these

4th club from nations 1 to 3
3rd from 4 to 6
2nd from 7 to 15

There are 2 qualifying rounds (compared to 4 for the champions qualifiers), and these rounds reduce the 15 clubs to 5 which qualify for the CL group stage.

This means - 5 clubs get a bye into the last qualifying round - that is, the clubs from nations 1 to 5. The other 10 have to play 1 round to get them down to 5.

The losers from this penultimate round go into the UC qualifying round 4 - and so are guaranteed a second bite at the cherry.

The winners from this round then meet the top 5 - with the winners going into the CL group stage - and the losers with the consolation of a UC group stage place.

The likelihood is that if (as is usually the case) the 2nd club in Scotland is either Celtic or Rangers, they will be seeded in the penultimate qualifying round - but unseeded in the final qualifying round. Should the worst happen and the Scottish runner up fail in the penultimate round, they will go into UC qualifying round 4 - almost certainly seeded.

So, the new setup

- increases the chance of at least 1 Scottish club reaching the CL group stage

- decreases the chance of there being 2 Scottish clubs in the CL group stage

- makes it extremely likely that one or other of the Old Firm will feature in the UC group stage

It doesn't make a lot of difference to the other clubs, quite frankly. The crucial thing will be the seeding for UC qualifying round 4 - as things stand at the moment, Hearts would probably be seeded (if they don't end up in Division 1 first!) but Aberdeen, for instance, are still short of having enough points to be certain of being seeded in this round.

Had the new system applied this year, Hearts would have qualified in addition to the existing 4 clubs - so the average coefficient might have been a little better. And if (as might happen) the Cup losers are excluded by SFA diktat or by UEFA rule changes, we could see clubs from 3rd to 5th all qualiyfing more or less every year.

The "champions" qualifying rounds will only be of interest should Scotland slide down the rankings to 13th. In this case our champions would get a bye to qualifying round 2, again with a 2nd chance (UC qualifying round 4) awaiting if we lost at this stage (very unlikely) - a very good chance of a CL group stage place and a guaranteed consolation prize of a UC group place for losing in the last qualifying round (round 3)

Drop below 15th and we are down amongst the minnows, starting in early summer in the 2nd qualifying round (round 1 - there is also a round 0!). At this level the runner up is relegated to the UEFA Cup.

Looking South of the border - England doesn't come out very well from the new proposals. The 8th team no longer enters European competition at all. The 7th team starts in the UEFA Cup in qualifying round 3, needing 2 rounds to reach the group stage instead of 1 as at present. The 4th team, instead of a relatively easy qualifier to reach the CL group stage, now has a much tougher qualifying round against the likes of Rangers, Dynamo Kiev, Shaktar, Fenerbache, Panathinaikos, Ajax, etc. The 3rd team does of course get into the CL group stage as of right but it's rare for an English team not to qualify anyway (just 2 failures since 1999-2000)

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Post by Scottish » Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:22 pm

A few points.

It DOES matter what happens with other Scottish clubs as the country co-efficient is worked out through average per club per country. Quick example, say Scottish teams have 20 points. At the moment the country average would be five points. If a fourth club comes in and gets gubbed while the others do the same as before then the average drops to four points. That dropped point comes off every Scottish club's ranking and damages seeding and rankings for future years.

I can't agree that this is good for the Scottish runner-up. Reaching the final qualifying round is going to be very difficult.

Regarding English clubs they don't get a bad deal. England has seven Euro entrants - the same as now. The eighth club can only qualify through the Inter Toto - a competition English clubs dislike. They get an extra guaranteed qualifier (okay, they rarely fail, but there is a world of difference in being guaranteed participation than having to qualify). I disagree that the 4th placed team has a harder job in future. Only if the fourth qualifier came from outside the magic circle would that be the case. The ones that have failed to qualify in the past have usually come from outside the elite.

What this is is a deal (and a bad one at that) between the well-intentioned Platini (who wants to bring in more countries to the CL) and the G14 who want the easiest path for their members.

Adding five extra guaranteed places for the biggest countries does precisely that.

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Post by exile » Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:32 pm

I don't think the proposals are as bad as you say.

Of the 6 extra places in the CL group stage, 3 go to nations 10 to 12. Also, there are guaranteed to be 5 clubs from nations 13 and below, which is not the case at present.

OK, so having an extra UEFA cup space means our coefficient may be lower - but since all the other nations we are competing with for the top 12/15 or whatever also get another UEFA cup berth, it shouldnt harm us unduly. As far as I am concerned, better to have as many clubs in Europe as possible, if only to avoid what happened this year when the best club in terms of coefficients outside the OF, Hearts, didn't qualify.

The most negative aspect for Scottish teams is the reduced chance of 2 clubs in the CL group stage.

From the English point of view, the 4th club is going to face much stronger opposition in the last qualifying round than it does at present. They will still be favourites, assuming they are seeded, but it won't be such a cakewalk as it is at present.

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Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:03 pm

"OK, so having an extra UEFA cup space means our coefficient may be lower - but since all the other nations we are competing with for the top 12/15 or whatever also get another UEFA cup berth, it shouldnt harm us unduly"

That's the bit I disagree with. Most other nations in those rankings don't have as big a gap between 2nd-4th/5th as exists in Scotland. So while our top two hold their own or are better than those around them this doesn't apply lower down the table. Remember, while Aberdeen have won through to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup it was the first time in a decade a Scottish club outside the OF managed to eliminate two or more opponents and even then it took them six games to win a match.

Burnie_man

Post by Burnie_man » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:39 am

What a pile of pish, money is far more important than fair competition.

Oh for a return to the old European Cup, Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup...........

exile
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Post by exile » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:31 pm

scottish wrote:"OK, so having an extra UEFA cup space means our coefficient may be lower - but since all the other nations we are competing with for the top 12/15 or whatever also get another UEFA cup berth, it shouldnt harm us unduly"

That's the bit I disagree with. Most other nations in those rankings don't have as big a gap between 2nd-4th/5th as exists in Scotland. So while our top two hold their own or are better than those around them this doesn't apply lower down the table. Remember, while Aberdeen have won through to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup it was the first time in a decade a Scottish club outside the OF managed to eliminate two or more opponents and even then it took them six games to win a match.
That's a fair point - but the gap has been closing in recent years. Mainly due to the OF no longer being able to sign top-class players mind you.

However, in the last couple of seasons one of our 4 clubs hasn't even been in our top 12 and have pulled down the average severely. At least now we will, more or less every year, have our best 5 clubs (assuming that we're no longer going to have cup losers in the UC)
- and even if we do still have the occasional Gretna it won't affect the average so much

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